Reuse Plastic into Adorable Little Beads


You too can make these adorable little plastic beads, and I’m going to tell you how!


There’s really something great about the detail you can get  out of these, because you’re drawing on the plastic in large scale and shrinking it down, but I’m getting ahead of myself. This is my entry for the Pintester’s Pintester Movement. I got the pin from Home DIY Idea Blog, initially, and since I’ve seen it around before I decided to give it a shot.



You’ll need a piece of plastic which is a number 6 recycling grade. Usually this is clear plastic, the kind you’ll get if you grab one from the salad bar at the grocery store. I make no promises about how well this will work if you don’t use number 6. You’ll also want a standard hole punch. Anything that makes a smaller hole will make a hole that is too small for a jump ring, later. You’ll also want sharpies and a pair of scissors.



First, do your design on the plastic (or, for mothers day, let your kids draw on it! What a great gift idea!) I used scribbles, just because I like how they look.


Then, you’ll want to cut the plastic into whatever shape you want them to be, and use the hole punch where you want holes. I wanted triangles, because I wanted to make that pendant necklace style, but you could really do anything. If you want rounded corners, round them now. It’ll be harder to cut the plastic after you’ve shrunk it, and the corners can be sharp.


Then, lay out the pieces (take my word for it, make sure your sharpie marks are on the top of the piece, not touching your parchment paper or aluminum foil). You want to be sure that your pieces aren’t touching each other, they will stick together. Preheat the oven to 350, and then stick them in.


Watch them carefully. It literally only takes 3 minutes for them to shrink. They’ll start to curl immediately, and as they shrink they’ll flatten out. I should have left mine in a little longer, because mine are still curved a bit, but I was a bit anxious about burning (it’s an irrational anxiety, trust me).






The range of color suffers a bit- purple and green both turned much much darker, almost black. The lighter colors stayed bright though, so the moral seems to be just don’t use too many dark colors.


You can see how much it shrunk. It’s almost a third of it’s size after you’re done, and much thicker. The plastic is definitely much stronger and it feels almost like glass does.



This is a really cool technique. You should definitely give it a try- the whole project took me less than an hour!




15 responses to “Reuse Plastic into Adorable Little Beads

  1. Pingback: Shrink Plastic Bookmarks | WhipStitchDesigns

  2. I love this idea! Especially the Mother’s Day part! xoxo, mom.

  3. Those turned out really cool! and so easy!

  4. This. I want to do this. I did not have Slinky Dinks as a child and I think it explains why I’m so dysfunctional now. I must do this.

  5. OOOH – like Shrinky Dinks! I used to do those with my kids (for hours – they were really popular in the 80’s). Lately my favorite bead company has advertised the sheets for sale – in a kit and kinda expensive. So going to try this – going to look for #6 logo on the plastic in the grocery store!

    • I vaguely remember doing shrinky dinks as a kid, but that was a long time ago, and yeah they’re expensive and often have things printed on them. I much prefer the blank slate of recycled plastic for sure.

  6. This is pretty stinkin’ awesome, and I totally understand the “I CAN’T LET THEM BURN” phobia that has me taking just about everything out of the oven too early.

    • Seriously! Especially since it’s plastic and no one wants to have to explain to the RA why your room smells like you’ve been killing your action figures with napalm.

  7. These are great! I remember as a kid doing something like this. They were called Shrinky-dinks or something like that.

  8. Pingback: Pinteste Round-up: Atlanta Meet-up and Hair | Pintester

  9. Very cool. I should totally do this!

  10. Pingback: Pintester Movement | Pintester

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